What is child support?

Child support is the money a parent pays to help with the cost of raising a child, such as food, housing, clothing, school supplies, daycare and other activities.

A court may order a parent to pay child support. Even absent a court order, both parents are expected to financially support their child. A parent who lives separate and does not help support the child may be ordered to pay “back” or “retroactive” child support to the person who cared for the child.